9 Ways to a Greener Home

Homes for sale in Berkeley, WV

Trying to reduce your environmental footprint? Consider integrating these green design principles into your home.

Net Zero: The idea is to balance the energy your home uses with an equal amount of renewable energy created. Not to be confused with living off the grid, net-zero homes may use energy from the grid one day and then sell an equal amount back the next.

  • Solar Power – Find out if solar power makes sense for your home with this solar cost/savings calculator.
  • Solar Hot Water – Upgrade your hot water tank to a solar system for considerably less than solar power.
  • Real-Time Monitoring – Install a smart energy monitoring system that lets you optimize your energy savings.

Energy Efficiency: Net zero works by minimizing the energy requirements of the home. This is done by eliminating costly energy leaks and switching to high-efficiency systems.

  • High-Efficiency Heating – Upgrade your heating or cooling system to a high-efficiency system.
  • Energy-Efficient Windows – Install energy-efficient windows to minimize heat losses or gains.
  • Insulation Upgrade insulation to support your heating and cooling system.

Water Conservation: Strictly speaking, conserving water does not contribute to your net-zero profile, but it does follow the same principle of minimizing environmental impact by reducing consumption.

  • Low-Flow Water – Install low-flow showerheads and faucets, and switch to dual-flush toilets.
  • Rainwater Collection – Conserve water by harvesting rainwater for use in the garden.
  • Xeriscaping – Minimize your water requirements by planting drought-tolerant plants.

Maintain Your Home with This Handy Checklist

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It’s that time of year again! Fall is the perfect time to do your annual home maintenance. The following list will help you protect what is probably your most valuable investment from the damaging effects of weather, wear and tear, and general mishaps.

Fire Safety:
– Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
– Replace batteries a minimum of twice a year.
– Check and/or replace fire extinguishers.
– Clear lint traps, hood vents and fans.
– Clean and inspect chimney.

Weatherproofing:
Check for leaks around windows and doors.
– Fill any cracks or gaps.
– Upgrade insulation to improve heating and cooling efficiency.
– Add or replace weatherstripping.

Inspect Building Exterior:
– Check roof for leaks, especially around vents, skylights and chimneys.
– Power-wash exterior, noting the condition of siding.
– Inspect landscaping, paying attention to low spots or signs of pooling water.
– Clean gutters and downspouts.

Check for Damage:
Deal with any pests in basements and attics.
– Inspect foundation and fill any cracks with epoxy.
– Check for dampness and for signs of mold and mildew.
– Assess and/or remove any dead or severely damaged trees.

Annual Servicing:
– Inspect and service hot water tank.
– Test faucets, and change washers and screens.
– Clean and replace HVAC system filters.
– Service HVAC system.
– Check outlets and replace light bulbs.

Homes for sale in Berkeley, WV

8 Steps to Prepare for Shifting to a Smaller Space

Homes for sale in Berkeley, WV

Shifting to a smaller space means scaling down your stuff. If you only have room for half or even a third of your belongings in your new space, some major downsizing is in order. Use these tips to make the process less intimidating and stressful:

Start Early – Give yourself three to six months to gradually scale down your stuff to avoid the temptation to pack up everything during the last-minute rush as you count down to moving day.

Avoid Overwhelm – Pace yourself! Set aside an hour or two every day to go through each drawer, closet and box to decide what to get rid of.

One Space at a Time – Instead of whirling through the entire house pulling things out of closets and dumping boxes, be systematic. Always finish one area before moving onto the next.

Sort Smart – Use the three-bin system: label three bins as “keep,” “sell” and “donate” to allow you to quickly organize items as you go through each room.

Be Ruthless – Think hard about what you actually need, especially in rooms like the kitchen that tend to accumulate duplicates. Then, purge everything else.

Plan Your Space – Get a copy of the new floor plan, and measure and place your furniture to see what you can realistically fit.

Donate to Charities – Find out what your favorite local charities will take as donations. Most list on their websites what they are currently in need of and what they absolutely do not want.

Sell What You Can – Take valuables to an antiques dealer or auction,list desirable everyday items online and hold a garage sale for smaller household goods. You might even turn a profit from your move!

Homes for sale in Berkeley, WV

8 Fantastical Futuristic Appliances

Homes for sale in Berkeley, WV

It wasn’t long ago that food replicators, holograms and computers that respond to your voice were the stuff of science fiction. These futuristic appliances are making that vision of the future a reality (although you’ll have to wait a while to get your hands on some of them).

3D Food Printer – Funded by NASA, the 3D Pizza Printer is intended for extended space travel and works by “printing” pizza building blocks from powder cartridges. Who knows what other kinds of food could be eventually printed?

Mini Dishwasher – Decidedly impractical for a family of four, this pint-sized power washer is just big enough for singles. It even recycles its own water!

Smart Refrigerator – Designed for the modern family, smart refrigerators are turning a formerly humble appliance into a multi-media food management hub with features like integrated apps, receipt scanning, expiration date monitoring and grocery list management.

Under-Cabinet Tech – Perfect for any high-tech kitchen, this modular under-cabinet system can be customized to fit your needs with accessories like plugs, lighting and tablet/smartphone holders.

iPhone Thermometer – For the griller in your family, the iCelsius turns your iPhone into a food inspection thermometer, displaying real-time temperature measurements.

Personal Microwave – Ideal for reheating small food items, this mini microwave weighs only 12 pounds and fits on your desk.

Learning Thermostat – For anyone who hates programming the thermostat, this smart alternative programs itself, learning your preferences and patterns as you adjust it.

Disappearing Range Hood – A must-have for every gourmet kitchen,the Jenn-Air Accolade range hood pops up from the countertop to clear the air and then disappears on command.

Homes for sale in Berkeley, WV

5 Potential Gaps in Your Insurance Coverage

Did you know that despite the name, all-perils or comprehensive coverage insurance policies do not cover every possible risk?

Often homeowners need to add special addendums or supplement with a separate named perils policy to fill the gaps in their home insurance.

Better to find the gaps in your coverage now instead of when your claim is denied. Here are some options to consider.

Broad Coverage Exclusions — Check your current policy for specific exclusions. Common ones include war, earthquake, flood, hurricane,wear and tear, plumbing problems and government action.

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Limitations on Temporary Housing — Find out if there are limits on how much or how long your policy will cover temporary housing while you repair or rebuild your home.

Replacement Cost — Confirm your coverage is adequate in the event your home is completely destroyed; policies often place a cap on replacement cost. Find out from a local builder if there have been substantial increases in materials and labor costs.

Changes to Building Codes — Consider adding ordinance and law coverage to avoid situations in which you aren’t covered for required upgrades to undamaged parts of your home to meet the current building codes.

Extended Absence Coverage — Review your policy to find out if your extended vacation could potentially void your policy. You may need to take additional steps to protect against damage while you are away or obtain special unoccupied property insurance.

Homes for sale in Berkeley, WV